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Posts Tagged ‘Alcona Pond’

“He is rich who is content with the least; for contentment is the wealth of nature.”  Socrates (469-399);  Philosopher

The weather in Michigan seems to always be a topic of conversation to native Michiganians.  We always say, “if you don’t like it, wait five minutes and it will change”.  Yesterday was a fine example.  We awoke to blue skies and temperatures already in the 50’s with a strong southerly wind.  We were forecasted to be in the high 70’s and I was looking forward to being able to get some yard work done.

After a brisk “hilly” walk, we did some errands in town and on the way back, I decided to mulch up those beautiful leaves that just a few days ago were on the trees all around us.  I used them as compost in my flowerbeds since the soil is poor at best, so any organic material will be a bonus to it.

I believe another flock of Trumpeter Swans has made a pit stop on our lake.  I don’t know if they were the same ones as before, so I’m only guessing that it may be a new flock coming from the north.  And like the previous flock, their honking makes me chuckle when I hear it.  I now have a nickname for the swans, “buoy butts”.  We were driving through a campground on Alcona Pond a few days ago and I seen a pair of swans near what I thought were swim buoys, but instead, they were swans that had tipped their butts up in the air so they could eat off the bottom.  I was very surprised when they popped up and realized what they were!

Today was the second day that a wild turkey has flown by the house and landed in the pine tree out front.  What is kind of odd is that the turkey landed on the same branch of the same tree as the previous one did.  Is this branch a “safe house” of sorts?  Do the turkeys know that is a good place to get away from whatever scared them off the ground?  My husband tells me that turkeys don’t like to fly much so it must have been something they were definitely afraid of to make this one fly and land so high in the tree.  I just hope that it finds it’s flock again, but I’m sure it will.

Our change in the weather came overnight.  A front from the west moved through and today is party cloudy with a high of maybe 50 degrees.   Still a brisk wind, but somewhat pleasant if you can find a protected area.  A big change is coming, we have a chance of snow showers on Tuesday with a high only in the 30’s.  That will feel like winter is just around the corner.

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A few weeks ago we were invited to a geocaching event on Saturday, April 30th.  It was being hosted by a couple of cachers from the South Branch area and we were to meet in South Branch at a local restaurant for breakfast.  Robert and I have never attended a geocaching event before, so we were a little uncertain about going, but after seeing the “cache names” of some of the people that were attending, we decided to go.  We have either seen their names on the logs of caches we found, or have found the caches that they put out.  So we thought it would be nice to be able to put faces to their names.  We had a very enjoyable time meeting our fellow cachers from the Northeastern Michigan area and even sharing a story or two.  (Breakfast was pretty good too!)

Since we knew we were going to be in South Branch, we decided to try to get the caches around the Alcona Pond area that we were unable to get to three weeks ago due to the road conditions.  Since we’ve had a lot of rain in the Au Gres area recently, we weren’t sure if the roads, (I use that term loosely, I should probably say “two tracks”) were going to be underwater, or mud bogs, but we had to try.

Our first cache was tricky at best.  The name of it is “Between The Waters”, (put out by the couple that hosted the morning’s event) so we knew water was going to be a factor.  We found the parking area at a very nice little pond, and then we started following the gps.  The name of the cache became evident pretty quickly.  All we had to do, was figure out how to get to it and stay somewhat dry.  Without giving anything away, we found it ‘between the waters’ and decided to drop off a travel bug that we put a few miles on.

A few caches later, we found ourselves on yet another two track, I was happily bumping along until we came upon a portion of a tree that was in our way.  Robert opened the door to get out and just a few feet away, a grouse was walking around.  He immediately turned and pointed it out to me and then it flew off.  I was amazed that it didn’t fly off as we approached it!  We bumped along a little more and then we came upon a rather large tree across the trail.  We were unable to move this tree without cutting it first, and since we had no hand saw we knew we couldn’t go further.  So reluctantly I turned around and headed back out.  Not far from where we seen the grouse, two deer jumped across the trail in front of us.  I stopped and watched them for a bit.  They turned and looked at us, we said ‘hello’ , which perked their ears in our direction, and then they strolled off.

We noticed a lot of vehicles in the woods and we initially thought they were turkey hunters, but after passing a couple traipsing through the woods with a mesh bag in hand, we knew right away it is morel season!  Since I have yet to find a morel mushroom, I began looking as we walked to each cache.  I realized I have to educate myself on where to find them and what to look for.

After finding our last cache at around 7:00 pm, we were on our way back towards the Oscoda area and as I came around a corner, I notice two deer near the edge of the road.  I stopped and Robert grabbed the camera for me.

Two deer trying to figure out what I was doing!

Like the other two deer earlier, they stopped and stared at us for the longest time.  A truck came up behind me and stopped and asked if we were ok.  He notice the very large branch we were dragging under the Jeep and thought we may have been broken down.  I had no idea I was dragging anything!  We were able to dislodge it, and were very grateful he stopped and told us about it.  I guess we would have noticed it eventually!

We had a very good caching day, our wildlife sightings totaled 6 deer, 1 grouse,  3 sandhill cranes, and 5 hawks.  And we were able to get all but one of the caches that we couldn’t get earlier.  It was a good day indeed!

Happy Caching,

Sheri

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Since I started this blog earlier in the week, I wanted to back-track a little in time and tell you about a mini-marathon of geocaching that Robert and I embarked on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of April.

We had just gotten back from our trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast and were anxious to get back to caching in our own state.  I picked out a dozen or so caches north of the Midland area and since we are in “mud” season now, I tried to stay on roads that I knew were “do-able”  That phrase will come in to play a little later.

It started out quite dreary and rainy, we hadn’t cached in the rain before, but we figured if we only cached on sunny days, we’d never get a chance to go.  Especially in April, in Michigan!  The first few caches were pretty easy park and grabs.  We commemorated our 200th cache by dropping off a Travel Bug in a cache named Great White Hunter.  We then continued around the area of Wixom Lake, a very large lake that is part of the Tittibiwassee River, surprised that there was still quite a bit of ice on the lake.  We ended our day with five caches in the Gladwin State Game Area.  They are part of a series entitled Treasure Hunt and they are all named after precious gems.  We did the first 18 last fall, but were unable to do these five either due to hunters in the area, and/or the lack of daylight.  We are not into caching in the dark, especially in an area we are unfamiliar with!  I’d probably still be out there wandering around!  On our way to the last cache, we hiked up a small hill and just as we arrived at the top, we stirred up five very large white tail deer.  I don’t know who was more scared, the deer or me.  My first thought was, “Wow, these guys made it through hunting season, good for them!”  Hunting season around our place is really rather noisy.  We are usually awakened at dawn with the first “kabooms” , and then very frequently after that.  With all of the shooting going on, I’m surprised there are any deer left at all up here.  We really have to curtail our outdoors activities for that two week period,  I’d hate to be the lead story on the evening news.  Anyway…just before finding the cache, we had another surprise.  Robert found a little garter snake that had obviously came out of it’s hole a little too soon.  It wasn’t frozen solid, but it was really quite rubbery.  I felt really bad for it, so I buried it under some leaves, and hoped for the best.  We then found the cache, signed the log and headed to Gladwin for a pizza.  Well deserved right?!

After getting home that evening, Robert was searching for more caches and discovered some newly put out ones in the Alcona Pond area.  Since we hadn’t cached in that area yet, we quickly decided to get up early (8:00 am! early for us) and do another day of caching.

I packed a picnic lunch, gathered all of our ‘cache stuff’ together, and off we went.  The first one was the harbinger for things to come.  The gps pointed us down a two-track that was still partly covered in snow, and also had very large mud holes and ruts.  Obviously, others had gone down this trail, so why not us?!  Right.  Now I am the one driving, and my adventure level is usually pretty high, but when the thought of burying our jeep in a mud hole in the middle of nowhere, and having to walk to get help (no cell service), my apprehensions were also quite high.  But with my cheerleader sitting next to me saying, “awe come on honey, it’s a Jeep” I reluctantly continued on.  We didn’t get stuck, and the cache was in a very beautiful area on the banks of the Au Sable River.  The scenery was well worth the white knuckled trip down the two-track.  We made it out ok and the next few caches were off much better roads.  We were the first to find at a cache called Aspen Alley, and what a beautiful place that was.  The trek through the snow was not easy, but well worth it.  I didn’t even think about throwing our snowshoes in, but we could have used them!  Our last cache was down a road that looked do-able at the beginning, but then quickly turned into a “what was I thinking!” road.  It narrowed quickly and soon was evident that no one had been down it all winter.  After narrowly escaping being sucked into a ditch of undetermined depth, I stopped and said we are not going any further.  Robert did agree with me at that point and soon we switch positions, and he got us turned around and back out to the main road.  Our poor Jeep was mud from the top to the bottom!  By then, our daylight was quickly running out, so we decided to continue on the next day, with the caches on the west side of the Alcona Pond.

Again, we got up ‘early’, packed a lunch and off we went.  This day started out very sunny but not as warm as we’d have liked, but nice none-the-less.  A pathtag had been put in a cache called Bee Happy!, so that was high on our list, and it just so happened to be on our way to the pond.  The cache was at a quaint little shop that was decorated with everything pertaining to bees.  We recovered the pathtag, which was from the MiGO (Michigan Geocaching Organization) folks.  Unfortunately, the business was not open, so we were unable to figure out if this was a “honey house” or just a gift shop that was all about bees.  We then continued on to Alcona Pond and the roads we had to travel today were much better than yesterday.  We were able to get four, first to finds, which is a treat for any geocacher.  We also seen two eagles locking their talons in mid-flight and spinning wildly towards the ground, only to let go just before reaching terra firma and flying back up, only to do it again.  What a treat!  We also seen three hawks, quite a few early season chipmunks, and was startled by two grouse.  Not bad for one day.  The Alcona Pond area is a beautiful place, and we do plan on coming back up to do some hiking and even kayaking the river and pond in this area.

Namaste,

Sheri

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